2019 Main Conference Talk
In a world where funding is finite and ideas are bountiful, how do you persuade your stakeholders and decision makers that your recommendations are worth prioritizing? Selling the value of the work.
The challenge is that few of us at IAC19 love to sell — we love IA, research, UX, content strategy, etc — and we’re generally not very good at selling because it’s not where we’ve focused the effort in our careers.
Due to this, IAs, UXers, Content Strategists, and Researchers are being poorly prepared. This lack of preparation and training means that we can’t sell the benefits of how we know that we can help, slows down our career progression, and prevents us from being “at the table” with decision makers.
The good news: It’s possible to apply a low effort, high impact, human-centered framework that reframes “selling” as “problem solving” and applies personas to develop empathy with and get into the mindset of your stakeholders and decision makers.
These personas are built by answering some simple questions:
- Who is the decision maker? This includes the potential creation of multiple personas and analysis of their needs.
- What is their greatest challenge and how are they being measured? This includes identification of big picture business issues that are both quantifiable as well as time bound.
- What kinds of problems are getting in their way of achieving the challenge? This focuses on the perspective of that individual and not the assumptions that we may have.
- What do they see as the solutions to those problems? Similarly, this is focused on the perspective of the stakeholder and not the assumptions we may walk into the conversation with.
- How would they be impacted by success (and failure)? This is where we measure value – both in business terms (save $4M) as well as personal terms (get promoted). This includes suggestions for how to estimate value based on increasing revenue, reducing costs, speed to market, mitigation of risk, etc.
By building out these profiles, we can much more easily speak the language of the stakeholders while focusing on what it is that we love doing best: solving problems.
About the speaker(s)
Amanda Ruzin began her career as a developer, and quickly discovered that human factors were her favorite part of the software development lifecycle. A career in user experience followed shortly thereafter: over the last nearly-20 years, she’s focused on using insights to fuel strategic design.As the Vice President of Experience Design at Bounteous, she heads a diverse team that helps clients understand problems, design solutions, and iteratively create amazing digital products and services. Amanda is a maker of many things, including shoes, hats, and handbags.